John Gosden hints Enable may not be retired after Arc defeat
“Shocker Sunday” could have been the headline in many newspapers worldwide on Monday morning. Who would have predicted Liverpool would concede seven goals, Manchester United six and Enable would not run a place in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe?
Enable’s legion of fans shed many a tear as the six-year-old mare — bidding for a record third Arc win — could only manage sixth place behind the French horse Sottsass. This was not the way Enable was expected to bow out of racing after a sensational career.
However, there was a hint in the postrace comments of trainer John Gosden that the mare might not be finished yet. “It’s a long time to the breeding season. She will tell us and if she gives the right signs we’ll see. If she seems like she’s had enough of racing then fine, but it didn’t look like that when she came off the track [in the Arc].
“The ground was very soft and she didn’t act on it well enough. She’s been exceptional, but there'll be no immediate decision — we’ll get her back, look at things, check her out and give it some thought and come up with an answer,” he said.
“Teddy Grimthorpe [racing manager to the owner] will report to Prince Khalid Abdullah and he will make the decision whether she has one more race or retires. It will be entirely his decision,” Gosden said.
The Newmarket trainer felt the slow pace dictated by Persian King had worked against his runners with Stradivarius finishing right on Enable’s tail. He attributed that to the absence of Aidan O’Brien’s runners who were dramatically ruled out on Saturday evening due to problems related to contaminated feed.
Gosden did confirm that Stradivarius will remain in training. “I think Mr Nielsen is keen for him to attempt a fourth Ascot Gold Cup.”
Enable's regular pilot Frankie Dettori still sings the mare’s praises. “She is by far the best horse in terms of CVs that I’ve ridden. When you think of the likes of Fantastic Light and Daylami, I only won five grade 1 races on them and she has won 11. She has nearly doubled the grade 1 tally of any other horse I’ve ridden.”
As mentioned in Friday’s Arc preview, this is a race the French like to keep at home and Sottsass — third in 2019 — got his act together to give trainer Jean-Claude Rouget his first success in this grade 1 event.
A delighted Rouget told reporters: “We’ve worked all year for this — our entire aim for 2020 was this and it’s not been easy with changes to the calendar.”
It was also the first Arc victory for jockey Cristian Demuro: “I just want to live this moment and tomorrow when I wake up I will think more clearly about it. I think the race was won at the start. I saw Enable wasn’t leading and when I realised we were not going that fast, I felt confident he could outsprint them in the straight.”
The time for the race was the slowest since 1976.
German-bred In Swoop nearly spoiled the party for Rouget and Demoro. The son of Adlerflug, ridden by Ronan Thomas, was only a neck behind Sottsass at the line.
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